With Houston off this past weekend, Dynamo players were left scoreboard-watching. And the results were both good and bad for the team.
The good news for Dynamo players and fans is that most of the results with playoff implications fell Houston’s way, with only the San Jose Earthquakes getting a point. The bad news is that the team slipped further down the standings and now sits as the second-worst team in the league.
“When you look at the standings, it makes your stomach sick,” said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We are in 15th out of 16 teams, and we have never been there before this late in the season. We can do something about it or we can accept it. Doing something about it starts by going out with a great attitude preparing for this week and trying to [beat Toronto] on Saturday.”
Kinnear has said on other occasions that the table does not lie, and it is difficult to make a compelling case on paper that Houston is not the second-worst team in the league. However, the players believe strongly that the standings misrepresent the quality in the locker room.
“When you don’t get wins, your position in the table is in the hands of other teams,” said Dynamo defender Andrew Hainault. “I don’t concern myself too much [with the standings]. If we don’t make the playoffs, it really doesn’t matter who loses or how many times [they lose]. We have to put fate in our own hands, get points, and just try to worry about us.”
Houston will have its next opportunity to get some points this weekend against a Toronto FC team that is struggling with schedule congestion stemming from CONCACAF Champions League games this week and the next. If the Dynamo win, they can leapfrog ahead in the standings.
“Over the weekend, not a lot of teams just ahead of us pulled out wins, so it's another opportunity here” noted Kinnear. “They are helping us stay around, and this is a time for us to help ourselves.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.